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Stick Your Tongue Out At Cancer

The world of cancer is changing. While just a decade ago a diagnosis of cancer was totally devastating and generally thought to be a death sentence; today around half of all adults diagnosed with cancer survive for ten years or longer.

But that said, it is still not a diagnosis that comes without trauma and the over 60s are still by far the age group with the highest risk of getting cancer.

However, diagnosis and treatments are now advancing rapidly and it seems that in just a few years time we may be able to take a simple and cheap test which will detect “tumour DNA” when it is circulating around our bodies.

This would be a massive breakthrough as it would provide a quick way to identify cancer at its earliest stages… and most of us know that the earlier treatment begins the better the outcome is generally.

The breakthrough has come from the department of oncology at California State University in Los Angeles where tests have shown that analysis of a single drop of saliva can show up early signs of a developing tumour.
“Just a single drop of saliva contains enough data to give a definite diagnosis as soon as a tumour develops,” said Professor David Wong, who led the research.

What is even better is the speed of detection. Professor Wong says that the test can be completed in just 10 minutes, and is so easy it could be taken in a doctor’s surgery or even at home.

At the moment early diagnosis of cancer can be hit and miss because cancer covers a range of diseases that can cause a huge variation in signs and symptoms depending on where the cancer is, how big it is and how much it affects organs or tissues.

This breakthrough method of testing was developed after the research team discovered that saliva contains fragments of a genetic messenger molecule RNA which is linked to cancer and the really good news is that the research shows the results are 100% accurate.

Full clinical trials on the testing system is being started with lung cancer patients in China later on this year, and the American Food and Drug Administration is expected to give approval within two years time.

The team are continuing their research because the long term aim is now to develop the test so that it will check for multiple cancers at the same time.
Research is also continuing here in the UK and Cancer Research UK is heavily involved here, supporting more than 250 clinical trials across the country.

Find out more at:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/

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